My Locus 20th and 21st All Century Picks

Locus is running a poll for the best novels and short fiction of the 20th and 21st centuries. The poll closes tomorrow. This morning, I finally got around to making my picks. Polls like this are highly subjective. My picks represent my personal tastes, of course, what novels and stories turned me on the most when I read them. I almost didn’t fill out the 21st century poll as there’s only been one complete decade and it still seems too near. I compromised: I filled out the best novels for the 21st century, but not the short fiction. There is just too much good short fiction and none of it is fixed firmly in my mind yet as “the best.” With that said, here are my picks.

20th Century Picks

Best Science Fiction Novel

  1. Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
  2. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
  3. Beyond Apollo by Barry N. Malzberg
  4. Dying Inside by Robert Silverberg
  5. The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov
  6. Up the Line by Robert Silverberg
  7. Forever War by Joe Haldeman
  8. Herovit’s World by Barry N. Malzberg
  9. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  10. The Terminal Experiment by Robert J. Sawyer

Best Fantasy Novel

  1. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
  2. It by Stephen King
  3. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
  4. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

Best Novella

  1. The Mule by Isaac Asimov
  2. Who Goes There? by Don A. Stuart (a.k.a John W. Campbell)
  3. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  4. Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
  5. Greater Than Gods by C. L. Moore
  6. Hawksbill Station by Robert Silverberg

Best Novelette

  1. The Bicentennial Man by Isaac Asimov
  2. Nightfall by Isaac Asimov
  3. The Marching Morons by C. M. Kornbluth
  4. E Is For Effort by T. L. Sherred
  5. The Women Men Don’t See by James Tiptree, Jr.

Best Short Story

  1. The Rocket Man by Ray Bradbury
  2. The Day Is Done by Lester del Rey
  3. The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore by Harlan Ellison
  4. Understanding Entropy by Barry N. Malzberg
  5. Rust by Joseph E. Kelleam
  6. Marrow by Robert Reed
  7. When It Changed by Joanna Russ
  8. A Defense of Social Contracts by Martha Soukup
  9. Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon
  10. The Men Who Murdered Mohammed by Alfred Bester

21st Century Picks

Best Science Fiction Novel

  1. Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis
  2. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffennegger
  3. Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer
  4. Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer
  5. The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman

Best Fantasy Novel

  1. Forever by Pete Hamill

There is still time to get in your picks if you want to vote. The ballot is open through tomorrow.


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